Counting your vote

by frog

Slate has a complicated mathematical piece trying to explain to Americans why their vote really does count even though it seems pointless in among the tens of millions of votes that will have no effect at all on the race to the White House.  The end result seems to be you should vote in the hope that your state ends up being an important swing state that influences the First Past the Post election.  But your odds aren’t good:

Even if your vote helps swing Florida, Florida might not swing the election. But if the electoral vote is sufficiently close, many states could be in a position to affect the national outcome. You know that if 538 fewer Bush votes had been counted in Florida, Al Gore would be president. But did you know that only 1,231,944 more Bob Dole voters, carefully apportioned among Nevada, Kentucky, Arizona, Tennessee, New Mexico, Florida, New Hampshire, Delaware, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, would have given their man the election, despite Clinton’s lead of 8 million in the popular vote?

All of which is a timely reminder of what a simple and clean voting system we have here in New Zealand.  Nearly everyone’s party vote here counts in the exact same proportion to everyone else’s.  (The exceptions being parties that either don’t make the 5% threshold and don’t win an electorate seat, or do win an electorate seat but whose party vote tally is low enough puts their electorate seat/s in overhang.) Last election here in New Zealand only about 2 percent of votes had no impact on the end result (either from voting from small parties like Destiny New Zealand for from the Maori Party’s overhang).  In the United States this election that number will be closer to 40 percent.

frog says

Published in Justice & Democracy by frog on Sat, November 1st, 2008   

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